This paper proposes an explanation of sex-differences in job-allocation and pay. Job allocation calculations are considered to be related to 1) the distribution of housework and 2) the skill-specialization requirements of jobs. Both elements combined generate a particular incentive structure for each sex. Welfare policies and services can, however, lower the risks of skill-depreciation for women as well as increase their intra-household bargaining power, hence reducing the economic pay-offs of traditional spherespecialization by sex. The implications of this model for earnings are tested using data from the second round of the European Social Survey. Results seem consistent with the model predictions.